Vida goes bananas for Detroit River

TRENTON, Mich. - In 10 years of FLW Outdoors competition, Kevin Vida of Clare, Mich., has notched seven victories, five of which have come on the Detroit River, Lake Erie or Lake St. Clair. Therefore it was a shock to no one to see the name Kevin Vida at the top of the leaderboard at the conclusion of this week's EverStart Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River. Numbers fell off dramatically on day four, with only four out of 10 pros bringing in a limit. Vida was one of the four, improving his day-three catch by exactly 1 ounce and proving his Saturday morning prediction that if he could get his bass to bite today, he'd bring in 18 pounds. Vida ended day one in 19th place and steadily worked his way up to the top, advancing to the finals from the ninth position with an opening-round catch of 35 pounds, 1 ounce. He caught more than 18 pounds three days running, hauling in 18 pounds, 5 ounces on day three and 18 pounds, 6 ounces on day four. Kevin Vida pumps his fist as heThe win marks Vida's third EverStart Series victory, and he says he won all three on the same bait - a green-pumpkin tube. "I was told about five years ago, `You'll win when you're least expecting to win,'" Vida said. "I wasn't expecting this." Vida, a self-proclaimed river man, stayed put at the mouth of the Detroit River to bring in consistently solid stringers of bass. Though he avoided the big-water/big-wave mess that shook up Erie fishermen all week, Vida said he still got wet. "It's been a fun four days but a rough four days," he said. "I'm three miles out, and I'm still getting soaked every day. These guys going all the way to Pelee - I would never do it." Vida says he did have a bit of an issue with local traffic today, as a local tournament with a good number of boats was also competing in the area. His bright orange, Banana Boat-wrapped Ranger probably didn't help him stay incognito. "We had a lot of boats out there, and I kept my cool, and fortunately for me and Neil (Heiden, co-angler winner), we came out ahead in this one," Vida said. "The guys were all around me. One guy got close, but for the most part, they stayed away." Vida also used a Berkley Frenzy lipless crankbait in blue chrome to search out his bass in practice, and he combined that with the tube rigged with 1/2-ounce and 1/4-ounce jigheads to bring in his limits during the tournament. He fished mostly shallow water. "I caught more fish today than I did yesterday," he said. "I lost a couple this morning, and I thought that was going to kill me." Kevin Vida poses with his Detroit River trophy.He estimates he caught 10 keepers today, some coming on his primary spot in the river at the mouth of Lake Erie but others coming on a deeper rock pile. "I got four and moved, and I caught a 3 1/2-pounder right away and two more that helped me," he said. Though he got soaked by the waves, he wasn't as bothered by that as much as the adjustments that this week's wacky weather required. "The currents were changing on me," he said. "On one spot, it made the currents favorable - it stacked the fish a little better." For the win, Vida earned $8,400 cash plus a fully rigged Ranger boat. He also earned contingency money from Yamaha, Garmin and Ranger Cup. Reault takes runner-up spot David Reault took second place with a 35-pound, 5-ounce total over the final two days.Finishing in the No. 2 spot is Livonia, Mich., pro David Reault with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 35 pounds, 5 ounces worth $8,400. Reault, who has three BFL victories on this fishery, brought in 16 pounds, 8 ounces today to earn his career-best EverStart finish. To hear him tell it, finishing second was no walk in the park. Rather, it was an uphill battle to retain his position all four days. He was eighth on days one and two and third on day three before finishing the tournament in second. "I've had some really good weights that don't reflect that I haven't caught a lot of fish," Reault said. "I've really struggled - it's been a challenge. I'm pleased to have done as well as I have." Reault utilized a host of baits to reel in his bass, including tubes, spinner baits and jerkbaits, in addition to doing a little drop-shotting. "I stayed in the river today," he said. "I went into Erie, and it was rough and muddy, and I couldn't do anything." He managed to catch about eight keepers today in the more fishable river. Goodman lands in third Patrick Goodman took third place despite a change in location on the final day.Also earning his career-best EverStart finish this week is White Pigeon, Mich., pro Patrick Goodman, who caught a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 35 pounds, 5 ounces to earn $8,000. Goodman is also a well-known Detroit River stick, with all four of his FLW Outdoors top-10 finishes coming on the Detroit River/Erie/St. Clair fishery. Goodman's final-day catch of four bass weighing 14 pounds, 2 ounces came as a bit of a relief to him, as his bass-rich rock pile that he thought was dried out wound up being too rough to fish. "I was so worried about my rock pile," he said. "I made it there today, and it took me an hour and a half, and it was dirty with 10- to 12-footers. I said, `We've got to go back to the river.'" What's incredible about that is Goodman's proclaimed ignorance of the river, an ignorance that still produced a sack good enough for third. "I caught that last one with 20 minutes to go," he said. "I knew if I could get one more I could have it, but I just couldn't do it." Dowd, Ferguson round out top five Mark Dowd landed in the No. 4 spot with a two-day catch of 32-4.Finishing the tournament in the No. 4 spot is Westland, Mich., pro Mark Dowd, who caught a 15-pound, 2-ounce limit today to boost his two-day total to 32 pounds, 4 ounces. He earned $7,350 for his fourth-place finish. "I got into this tournament with no practice, and basically there's one spot that's been producing every day," Dowd said. "Today my primary didn't work, so my co-angler (Jeff Harris) gave me a schooling." Art Ferguson III of St. Clair Shores, Mich., scored yet another Detroit River/Erie/St. Clair top-10 finish with a fifth-place showing this week. His 16-pound, 9-ounce catch today brought his final-round total to 30 pounds, 11 ounces, which earned him $6,850. "It was a different kind of day for me - I woke up, and I was really tired," Ferguson said. "I couldn't even think. I started on a spot down here in the river, and I'd been running to St. Clair every day. I struggled all day long." Best of the rest Rounding out the top 10 pros at the EverStart Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River: 6th: Joe Balog of Harrison Township, Mich., eight bass, 29-1, $5,850 7th: Thomas Moleski of Elkhart, Ind., six bass, 25-12, $4,850 8th: Eric Struif of Lake Villa, Ill., six bass, 12-11, $4,350 9th: Tony DeFilippo of Lake Ann, Mich., two bass, 7-9, $3,850 10th: Nate Wellman of Jenison, Mich., two bass, 7-8, $3,350 Rose, Jancasz claim points titles Pro Mark Rose of Marion, Ark., is the 2005 Northern Division pro angler of the year.This year's Northern Division pro angler of the year is Marion, Ark., pro Mark Rose, who finished the year ranked No. 1 with 735 points. His best finish of the year was 12th at this week's event, and he finished in the top 25 at all four Northern Division events. Trevor Jancasz of White Pigeon, Mich., took co-angler-of-the-year honors with 731 points this season. He opened the season on the Detroit River with a fifth-place finish and did not finish lower than 29th at any of the four Northern Division tournaments. Coming up This week's event was the final regular-season EverStart Series event of the year. The EverStart Series Championship will be held on Pickwick Lake in Florence, Ala., Nov. 2-5.

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/news/2015-03-28-birge-buzzes-ahead

Birge Buzzes Ahead

Today started off with a slightly miserable 31-degree air temperature, but it didn’t take long for the top 20 pros to really heat up on Lewis Smith Lake at the second stop of the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour presented by Evinrude. Reports poured in throughout the day of big bass – especially big largemouths – being caught off beds. It looked at first as if one of the “largemouth lookers” might piece together a big enough bag to snatch the lead away from Oklahoma rookie Zack Birge, who struggled early to make his shallow topwater pattern work. Unfortunately for the rest of the field, the young gun Birge has the coolness and patience of a veteran, and he stuck with his game plan of throwing a buzzbait and soft jerkbait rig until the sun had time to warm the shallows and spur the fish to become more active. Birge tallied 17 pounds, 11 ounces today, raising his three-day total to 54-8 and giving him a lead of 3-11 over Texas veteran Clark Wendlandt in second place. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 3

After three days, it looks as if tournament leader Zack Birge has the quality largemouth bite in the bushes wired. But behind him on the leaderboard are nine pros doing everything from sight-fishing to catching schooling bass and everything in between. Even with all the patterns in play, few have fizzled. The sight-fishers have reported finding new bedders, the schoolers are still schooling and a couple of guys have even started tapping floating docks. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-lewis-smith-lake-day-3-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 3 Coverage

Day 3 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-topwater-takes-birge-to-the-top

Topwater Takes Birge to the Top

On a day when chilly, windy post-front conditions challenged many Walmart FLW Tour anglers who were relying on sight-fishing for spawning bass, Zack Birge bucked the trend and pulled out a pair of topwaters to haul in 17 pounds, 14 ounces. Birge jumped from third place past day-one leader Drew Benton to take over the top spot on Lewis Smith Lake in the event, which is presented by Evinrude. Birge’s two-day total of 36-13 has him positioned 1 pound ahead of Benton. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 2

While air and water temperatures plummeted on day two of the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude, the big surprise came in the stability of the fishing patterns amidst such change. Zack Birge found plenty of production on his primary pattern to send him to the top of the leaderboard, and those under him held true to their patterns as well to secure a ticket to day three’s top 20. Among the biggest surprises was the number of pros who were still able to pluck fish off beds. Most pros that were sight-fishing say the bass are committed to beds and that the cold snap will not run them off at this point in time. Despite the cold, some even found new fish on beds that were not there yesterday. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-lewis-smith-lake-day-2-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 2 Coverage

Day 2 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-benton-blasts-20-12-on-lewis-smith

Benton Blasts 20-12 on Lewis Smith

Panama City, Fla., pro Drew Benton jumped into the early lead at the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude with a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 12 ounces. Benton caught a mix of largemouths and spotted bass, and revealed that both black bass species are spawning. He leads a tight top 20 that includes 18 pros that caught more than 15 pounds each. The first day was an absolute fish-fest. Of the 154 pros fishing this tournament, 138 weighed limits. Brad Roberts of Faubush, Ky., has a 2-ounce lead in the co-angler division with a 13-pound, 4-ounce limit. Tomorrow he’ll try to defend his lead on the final day of co-angler competition. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 1

While Drew Benton was busy bugging bedding fish for his day-one tournament lead, several others behind him were scoring big with other fishing options on Lewis Smith Lake. Sight-fishing also played a role in the top limits produce by Tracy Adams, Scott Martin and Ish Monroe, but Clayton Batts and Zack Birge both brought in big bags with other patterns. Click here to read about Benton’s day-one performance at the second Walmart FLW Tour event of 2015, which is presented by Evinrude. Here’s how the rest of the top five got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-lewis-smith-lake-day-1-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 1 Coverage

Day 1 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-22-arkansas-anglers-win-college-open

Arkansas Anglers Win College Open

Consistency was the key for the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville here in the FLW College Fishing Kentucky Lake Open as Zachary Pickle and Drew Porto won the event with a two-day total of 43 pounds, 12 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-kendrick-king-on-guntersville

Kendrick King On Guntersville

Kendrick, who is fishing the Rayovac FLW Series in hopes of qualifying for the FLW Tour, caught more than 25 pounds each day of the event and finihsid in fine fasion when it counted. Kendick was catching nearly all of his bass around big schools of bait with a Houdini pearl-colored Scottsboro Tackle swimbait from 15- to 25-feet of water. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-epting-s-30-pounds-tops-on-santee-cooper

Epting's 30 Pounds Tops on Santee Cooper

SUMMERTON, S.C. – Chris Epting of Chapin, South Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 30 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division tournament of 2015 on Santee Cooper. For his victory, Epting earned $3,679. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-wood-rock-key-for-middleton-s-victory

Wood, Rock Key for Middleton's Victory

HUDDLESTON, Va. – Dennis Middleton of Madison Heights, Virginia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Shenandoah Division tournament of 2015 on Smith Mountain Lake. For his victory, Middleton earned $7,199. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-johnson-wins-on-dale-hollow

Johnson Wins on Dale Hollow

BYRDSTOWN, Tenn. – Robby Johnson of Byrdstown, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 7 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Mountain Division tournament of 2015 on Dale Hollow Lake. For his victory, Johnson earned $5,689. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-griffin-gets-win-on-ross-barnett

Griffin Gets Win on Ross Barnett

BRANDON, Miss. – Jason Griffin of Benton, Mississippi, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 23 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Mississippi Division tournament of 2015 on Ross Barnett Reservoir. For his victory, Griffin earned $5,349. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-top-5-patterns-from-guntersville-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Guntersville Day 2

The second day of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division tournament on Lake Guntersville proved as remarkable as the first – or perhaps better, considering today’s parade of big fish included a 12-pound, 10-ounce behemoth caught by fourth-place pro Trevor Fitzgerald for the day’s Big Bass prize. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-hall-holds-steady-for-lead

Hall Holds Steady For Lead

Joe Hall of Lake City, Minn. wasn’t confident about his chances going onto the second day of competition of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division event on Lake Guntersville. Nonetheless, he held steady with a 27-pound, 5-ounce catch that only barely fell short of the 28-1 he weighed on the first day. With a two-day total of 55 pounds, 6 ounces, Hall holds a 1-pound, 12-ounce lead over Cameron Gautney going into the final day of the Mercury presented tournament. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-missouri-anglers-lead-college-open

Missouri Anglers Lead College Open

Andrew Nordbye and Adam Almohtadi of Northwest Missouri State University of Maryville, Mo., took the lead in the opening round of the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake with 25 pounds, 2 ounces. Heading into Saturday’s second and final round, the University of Kentucky’s Ryan Collins and Hunter Fulcher sit in second place with 22-14, while Ethan Flack and Konnor Kennedy of the University of Alabama are currently third with 22-9. Details to follow. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-day-1-patterns-from-the-college-open

Day 1 Patterns from the College Open

The Northwest Missouri State University team of Andrew Nordbye and Adam Almontadi took the day-one lead in the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake. While their pattern seems to be effectively refined – they were using only one lure and had no others out on the deck – Nordbye and Almontadi don’t have this one sewed up yet. The rest of the top five is just a few pounds behind the leaders. Here’s how they made it into contention going into the final day. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-gautney-under-pressure

Gautney Under Pressure

Day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division event on Guntersville is just as misty and nasty as the first. Lucky for us, the first day of the Mercury-presented event featured huge catches throughout the field. READ MORE »